Danielle: I’d been staring longingly at Wagamama’s each time I walked past but my resolve stayed until it was time to experience the Winter menu or otherwise known as the UK specials. I’ve been hearing good reports from everyone who’d visited, not just Caroline! Choosing to get there at noon proved a good choice. We very quickly got seated – at 12:30 the queue was almost out of the door.
My daughter introduced me to Wagamama’s I’m not sure how long ago. Until now, I’d been to Wagamama’s in London, Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Livingston. The Edinburgh restaurant seems unusual in that there’s an eating area with tables for four rather than the long benches we’re used to. It makes great sense if you’ve got children with you though but I rather hankered after sitting at the long tables.
What to choose? I just love the juices. Truthfully, they are a little odd looking as the juices invariably settle out, but ignore that. They taste great and are so refreshing. I had a Super Juice: apple, orange, sharon fruit and cranberry juice.
I was hankering after something spicy so chose the firecracker prawns with mangetout, chillies and peppers in a fiery sweet and hot sauce with shichimi (hot pepper), sesame seeds and lime. It certainly hit the spot, although I did chicken out at eating the whole red chillies!
One of my companions, Blythe, had the lemongrass and mint chicken soba which was equally delicious. Katey and Miriam tucked into the gargantuan salads. Miriam was in heaven “It is so hard to get a decent salad in the UK” she said happily eating herself happy. We also savoured some gyoza (dumplings) and chilli squid.
We found the staff pleasant but rather tentative not quite the confident sassy people you’ve come to expect at other Wagamama’s. I am sure they’ll settle in.
I wondered whether they were explaining how the dishes come when they’re ready rather than in any particular order to all their new customers – which is a bit disconcerting.
Our verdict: A great addition to Edinburgh’s vast array of restaurants. Just make sure you picker a quiet time to turn up. I can recommend the prawns!
(and you might just like to know what my guests thought too)
1 castle terrace
corner of lothian road
0131 229 5506
Caroline’s post: Wagamama opened in Edinburgh Tuesday, November 2nd. It’s with great excitement that we see this best of chain restaurants open its doors to Edinburgh diners. I was there for dinner on one of the training days and can confirm that the staff and kitchen is up to speed. Over the training days the restaurants was probably as busy as it will ever be, with hundreds of diners enjoying complementary meals.
I brought another glamorous companion (I’m very popular when I can offer friends a free meal) along to help me taste the Wagamama delights. There are some new dishes on the menu that are very good indeed! Edinburgh Foody will give a review into the autumn specials soon so other than hinting that I’m a fan of a good seaweed salad, I’ll leave the specials alone.
The beef teriyaki soba is hearty and the beef perfectly pink. I usually prefer my noodles in stock rather than fried because they get a little oily. Tasty, though, entirely tasty. I also had the chilli squid side which is crispy, generous and set off by a very nice sweet dipping sauce. It’s difficult to chose between favourites like the squid and the gyoza since I’m a fan of both. This time, squid won because my glamorous companion hadn’t tried it. Her chicken and prawn ha chan was a huge and soothing dish of stir fried rice with vegetables. It comes with a side of pickles and miso soup. All good stuff.
I know that it won’t be long before I’m back.
(Sorry for the lack of pictures: I had a battery disaster.)
I first visited Wagamama in Dublin a few years ago and have since been to two Boston locations. While it’s not gourmet or overly authentic, it is nice to know you can consistently find fresh vegetables and tasty noodles. I need to try the chilli squid, sounds delicious!
Having been to Wagamamas on several occasions whenever in Glasgow, I was very happy to learn that there would be a branch opening in Edinburgh. Went last Friday, fully expected a queue (newly opened, weekend etc.) before being seated however what I did not expect was to be informed that they had ran out of rice (!) and the toilets were out of order – considering they had only been open for two days…bit of a disappointment. Went to another restaurant instead, would consider going again – but maybe call ahead to confirm rice is back on the menu and the facilities are in working order.
Ouch! That is a disappointment. I hope they get their stock back together and that you had a good night anyway.
Teething troubles I should hope. I’d guess that they underestimated Edinburgh’s appetite for Wagamama!
I’m not quite sure what the point of Wagamama is, considering how many authentic Asian restaurants of all stripes there are within a five-minute walk of the place. Still, good to know the food is decent.
Why not try it and report back?
Money and time, but mostly because I prefer to avoid chains.
I like variety. The more different types of good restaurants we have, the happier I am. You’re right that there’s lot of good Asian restaurants around Lothian Road/Tollcross, though. It’s a good part of town for noodles, sushi and everything inbetween.